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No. 14 (212) November 2012

International Water Forum AQUA-UKRAINE 2012

6-9 November 2012, Kiev, Ukraine

The International Water Forum “Aqua-Ukraine 2012” was organized on 6-9 November 2012 through joint efforts of the State Water Resources Agency of Ukraine, Ministry of Regional Development, Construction, and Housing and Utilities of Ukraine, Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources of Ukraine, and a number of other national and international institutions in accordance with the decision of the Ukraine Government.

At the opening of the Conference and exhibition, welcome speeches were delivered by the Minister of Regional Development A. Bliznyuk, Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources E.A. Stavitskiy, and Director of the State Water Resources Agency V.A. Stashuk.

The Scientific and Production Conference “Water and Environment”, specialized exhibition of water facilities, and the conference of the representatives of the Network of Water Management Organizations from EECCA “Challenges and Progress in Water Management and Land Reclamation in EECCA Countries” were held during the Forum. The total number of the organizations participating in the Forum was more than 300 and the total number of the participating persons was more than 1500. Both the Conference and exhibition (98 participants) were focused on many-sided development and improvement of the multi-industry water management system with extensive use of international experience (Germany, Netherlands, China, Poland, Russia, Czech Republic, Hungary, etc.). At the exhibition, equipment for water conditioning, water supply, wastewater treatment, water quality and quantity control, bottling, as well as pipes, pumps, etc. were demonstrated.

Ukrainian water management organizations showed one of the most impressive developments made throughout the CIS countries. Although it was characteristic of Ukraine too, like other neighboring countries, dramatic decline in irrigated agriculture, which has resulted in decreasing irrigated areas by more than twice, i.e. from 2.2 Mha to 0.7 Mha, yet now the country has obviously made a breakthrough in the restoration and enhancement of the water industry capacity. That was due to the Government of Ukraine Program “Prosperous society, competitive economy, and effective state” and Law of Ukraine “On Approval of the National Program Oriented to the Development of Water Sector and Improvement of the Dnieper River Basin Environment” signed on 21 June 2012 by the President of Ukraine. The purpose of the Program, which provides for the allocation of six billion US dollars by 2020, is to meet the water demands of the population and economic sectors, prevent and protect population against destructive effects of water. This year, water management bodies has done enormous work and made it possible to ensure availability of the national irrigation system on 1007.4 ha. Drainage systems have been made ready on an area of 2,817 ths ha. Drip irrigation is successfully developing: while as early as in 2002 the areas under this the most efficient type of irrigation was 5 ths ha, now it has come to 55 ths ha!!!

Production and application of sprinkling machines, including long-span ones named “Fregat”, has been re-established.

For financing water management related works the Agency raises the funds allocated from the national budget and the funds received for the water sold as a resource and water supply services provided to users. The total annual financing amount of this industry, including investments, exceeded 800 million US dollars.

Great attention is paid to widespread improvement of water accounting quality and accuracy. The schedule of works for calibration of gauging facilities by the Agency’s provincial laboratories, Basin Water Authorities, and Hydrogeological and Reclamation Field Offices has been drawn up, and its implementation is under strict control. Everywhere water users carry out water accounting according to the form “2TP-Vodkhoz”.

The water sector has a complex structure that is close to European management schemes. Along with provincial water authorities, there are ten basin authorities each of which has basin commissions. Under those, intersectoral commissions have been established for major river basins (there are four ones: Dnieper, Dniester, Danube, and Tisa), which regularly deal with the issues related to flood routing, overcoming water shortage problems, river behavior, additional water supply from other basins. In the current year, their actions helped to successfully solve water shortage problems. The joint actions on the transboundary river Tisa is a typical example. The information system built there for flood warning allowed significantly reducing the damage from this disaster - to 9.1 mln Ukraine hryvna (about 1.1 mln US dollars) in 2010 against 100 mln Ukraine hryvna (about 12.3 mln US dollars) in 1998.

The Agency Director’s attention was given not only to the progress made in the sector, which is prominently evident from the analysis of the overall Agency activity, but also to the team that was carrying out all the works associated with water management. Thirty three thousand people working in the industry, nine thousand of which are engineers and technicians, are in the centre of leaders’ attention. Specialists undergo retraining and advanced training on a regular basis both in the field and in the National Institute of Management and Economy under the Agency.

The Water Management Museum founded by the Agency is an example of the care of the industry history and personnel and, at the same time, dramatically illustrates the progress and outlooks of the water industry. This contributes to the development of professional pride among young specialists, as well as the sense of honor to work in the interests of their country. At the same time, it is important that by presenting the nearly century-long history of the industry the leaders demonstrate that no one is forgotten and nothing is forgotten. The journal “Water Management of Ukraine” issued in Ukrainian not only informs its readers of the accomplishment of plans, introduction of new technologies, and results of investigations, but also celebrates anniversaries, awards and achievements of industry workers from most remote places of the country.

One of remarkable examples of basin authorities’ activity is integrated interstate management of the Seversky Donets river water resources to the benefit of Ukraine and Russia.

During the Conference “Water and Environment”, definite positive remarks were heard from the floor, in particular the representatives of the Zaporozhye region reported about successful implementation of water pricing initiated in 2000. The Director of the Institute of Water Problems and Land Reclamation, Academician of the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences M.I. Romaschenko presented in terms of figures the upward tendency of private initiative for the development of drip irrigation.